I wished I knew knitting, so that I may have used this time to knit a muffler for someone. After the lockdown was lifted in this teeming city of millions, it seemed to me that the people have come out on the streets with a vengeance.
For such a country as ours, we have far too many cars on the roads, and the roads themselves are almost giving way at the huge mass they are supporting. The foundations must be moaning at the excessive weight of so many different kinds of vehicles. My visit to my loved ones turned out to be more of an expedition than a simple car ride.
After reaching my destination, I got out of the car, quite stiff and my hinges creaked as I gathered my packages and parcels and walked towards the elevator. It was only a flight up, but I thought I should not take a chance and fall on my face with my different sized packages of food and other things, burdened with my oversized handbag. (I am one of those women who can never carry a small purse. Too many things to lug around!)
As I waited for the contraption to come down from the 12th floor, a young girl and boy walked towards me and stood by. All three of us looked up at the descending red arrow, in anticipation.
Suddenly, I heard, "Please, may I carry one of those? They look heavy." Surprised and taken aback as Covid restrictions had almost obliterated random conversations with strangers, I looked at the girl as she extended her hand towards me.
I said, somewhat sheepishly, "It's only to the first floor, I can manage. Thank you." She still insisted, "Please, may I?" How could I refuse?
I handed over a big package and wondered if my hair looked greyer than other days? She must have seen my oversized handbag dangling at a precarious angle and I must look pretty distraught!
As the elevator doors opened just then, we stepped inside and the young boy was kind enough to press the button on my floor. The girl was pleasantly forthcoming.
"You live in this building, don't you?" I said, "No, I am visiting my son and daughter in law. We all used to live here before this was turned into apartments."
I asked her name and she said she was Zoya and her brother was Zahran.
As the flight up was a very short one, the doors soon opened and she handed me my packet and gave me her apartment number. She said I must visit them the next time I came over. I thanked her profusely and said it was indeed my pleasure to have met them. I promised to pay them a visit.
I was rather bemused as I bustled into my son's place and as he relieved me of my packets, I told him about the nice encounter I had with the young people on the elevator. I was so happy to see such well-mannered young people and I knew they were being brought up in a very humane way.
As I sat enjoying my tea and I let the conversation ebb and flow around me, a distant memory drifted into my mind.
A rainy day, long ago. I was a teen and had gone with my mother to get groceries at a nearby shop. The rains had let up. The shop was not crowded but apart from the shoppers, there were a few people who had come in to shelter from the rain.
We waited our turn at the counter. It was pre-POS days. People paid in cash and the person at the counter counted the money and gave out change. There was a lady, in her mid-fifties, who had finished her shopping and was in a dilemma as to how she was going to carry all the bags out to a waiting rickshaw.
I noticed her and offered to help. She must have been a striking beauty when she was young. She gave me a very sweet smile. I took two bags and led her out of the shop. I made sure she was seated on the rickshaw and then I placed the bags in such a way that they would not slip out and fall. She was very grateful and thanked me heartily. I bade her goodbye and went back into the shop to help my mother. I thought nothing of it. It was in my nature to be a bit more caring than the average person.
The words "what goes around, comes around" had never been so heartfelt till now. I had always been an advocate of doing small things in a hearty way. I had always insisted on my children on doing the same. Zoya and her brother, Zahran restored my faith in humanity. I always liked helping people but today, I was helped and in such a simple and sweet way that my heart overflowed with blessings for those two children. The world is in a good place. When you do good, it comes back to you in such unexpected ways that you are taken by surprise. I was surprised, pleasantly!